Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The More The Merrier (1943)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The More The Merrier (1943)

In George Stevens' pleasant romantic comedy about the post-WWII housing shortage in the nation's capital:

  • the early scene introducing prospective elderly tenant, retired millionaire Mr. Dingle's (Oscar-winning Charles Coburn), who was wandering around Washington DC with his suitcase, and saw a placard below a statue, reading "Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead" - his oft-stated saying
  • the scene of him speaking to the throngs of other eager tenants and pretending he was the landlord that had already rented the apartment ("I'm sorry but the apartment is all rented"), and then he convinced the real landlord, young working bachelorette Connie (Jean Arthur) to rent him half of her apartment: ("Well, look at me, I'm neat, like a pin. Aw, let me stay...I'll tell ya what. We'll try it out for a week. End of the week comes, if you're not happy, we'll flip a coin to see who moves out")
  • the hilarious minute-by-minute morning schedule scene beginning at 7 am, which she presented to new roomer Dingle: ("Here's a copy of the morning schedule....Yes, it's a matter of efficiency. You just follow this and we won't have any trouble"); she showed him the floor plan - and then went through the detailed, systematic half-hour plan: ("Now, my alarm goes off at seven o'clock, and we both get up. And at seven one, I enter the bathroom. Then you go down to get the milk, and by seven five you've started the coffee. One minute later, I leave the bathroom, and a minute after that, you enter the bathroom. Now that's when I'm starting to dress. Three minutes later, I'm having my coffee, and a minute after that at seven twelve, you leave the bathroom. At seven thirteen, I put on my eggs, and I leave to finish dressing. Then you put on your shoes, and take off my eggs at seven sixteen. At seven seventeen, you start to shave. At seven eighteen, I eat my eggs, and at seven twenty-one, I'm in the bathroom fixing my hair, and at seven twenty-four, you're in the kitchen putting on your eggs. At seven twenty-five, you make your bed. Seven twenty-six, I make my bed. And then while you're eating your eggs, I take out the papers and cans. At seven twenty-nine, you're washing the dishes, and at seven thirty, we're all finished. You see? It's really very simple"); at the end of Connie's long schedule description, Dingle simply asked: "Do we do all this railroad time or Eastern war time?"
Connie's Description of Schedule with Apartment Floor Plan
  • Connie's double-take upon noticing another apartment roommate Sgt. Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) - a clean-cut young aviation expert who was living in half of Dingle's sub-let space for a few days before deployment; he was carrying an airplane propeller; when Connie and Joe confronted each other for the first time outside the bathroom, she asked: "Who are you? How did you get in here?"
  • the scenes of Mr. Dingle's attempts to play matchmaking Cupid to bring his fellow housemates together, rather than have Connie marry rich and stuffed-shirt bureaucrat-boss Mr. Charles J. Pendergast (Richard Gaines) (aka "Mr. Smug") for security's sake
  • the scene of Joe's offer of a parting gift ("peace offering") as he was about to move out and journey to Africa in a few days - "Just a sort of genuine top grade cowhide traveling bag with all the accessories" - and she was flabbergasted by his generosity and attentiveness, but said she had to refuse it because her fiancee Mr. Pendergast would object ("I couldn't take it"); Joe responded that it could be seen as a "wedding present - take it on your honeymoon" and then pleaded: "I want to give it to you. Will it kill you to do me a favor and keep it? All I'm asking is that you accept, as a gift, no strings attached, one genuine cowhide traveling bag?" - and then he popped a question: "Say, do you think we could go out together and have dinner tonight?" - but she was later reluctantly forced to go on her scheduled 8 pm date with her fiancee
  • the sexually-exciting apartment front steps kissing scene on a summer night between Connie and Joe, when he walked her home after her date with Mr. Pendergast; she kept up pretenses when she bragged about her upcoming marriage: ("I consider myself a very lucky little lady...being engaged to Mr. Pendergast"), even though Joe amorously embraced her, caressed her, and fondly touched her hands, arms, and shoulders; she vainly attempted to ignore his advances, and held out her engagement ring for his approval; he responded by kissing her wrist, causing her to become visibly distracted; her voice cracked when he admired and then nuzzled her bare neck. ("Well you see, that's the way with those older men like Mr. Pendergast. A girl gets to appreciate their more mature..."); Joe passionately kissed her on the lips - and when he released, she finished the sentence: "...viewpoint"; she paused, looked away for a second, and then took the two sides of his face with her hands and boldly kissed him back - harder, but then, she realized that they were getting too involved - she stood and politely stated: "I've gotta go. Good night, Mr. Carter." He responded: "Good night, Miss Milligan"
Front Step Kisses and Caresses Between Connie and Joe Carter
  • the subsequence scene of the couple's own version of the "Walls of Jericho" bedroom scene (from It Happened One Night (1934)) as they both laid in bed in their separate adjacent bedrooms (shot from outside in a frame split by the wall between them); they both discussed how uncomfortable and restless they were, when Joe finally admitted: "I love you, Connie" and she responded likewise: "I love you more than anything in the world" - and then he abruptly sat up and proposed: ("You asked me if I was afraid to get married. I'm not afraid... I mean, Will you marry me? I want to marry you, Connie") - and she immediately accepted: "Thank you, I'd love to" although they worried about being forced to separate ("And I'd be worrying about YOU, and you'll be worrying about ME")
  • Dingle, an aging Cupid, stage-managed the young couple's wedding, (although they supposedly planned to annul it soon after) - but things worked out when Joe and Connie noticed the wall between their two bedrooms had been removed by Dingle; they listened as Dingle repeatedly shouted out his favorite line from downstairs (the film's last lines): "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" - and a new name was put on the apartment door: "Mr. and Mrs. Sgt. Carter"

Landlady Connie's "Room for Rent"

Mr. Dingle's Pretension of Being the Landlord to Other Prospective Renters

Connie with Mr. Dingle, Who Convinced Her to Rent to Him

Dingle Renting Half of His Half to Sgt. Joe Carter

Connie to Joe: "Who are you?"

Joe's Parting Gift to Connie - A Traveling Bag

Split-Screen Bedrooms Between Connie and Joe

Connie to Joe: "I love you more than anything in the world"

Dingle Stage-Managing Their Match-making Wedding

New Apartment Name Plate: Mr. and Mrs. Sgt. Carter


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